Magic. There’s almost no other word to describe the atmosphere in the Mayan Riviera. A place where ancient pyramids rise from the jungle and turquoise waters lap at palm-fringed beaches.
Stretching from Puerto Morelos (about 10 miles south of Cancun) to the village of Tulum and beyond, this slice of Mexico’s Caribbean shoreline is a can’t miss yachting destination.
Dive The Great Mayan Reef
Just offshore from the Riviera Maya is one of the world’s great natural wonders. Second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, The Great Mayan Reef (also known as the Mesoamerican Reef System) is roughly 700 miles of pure diving bliss.
Home to over 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusks and more than 500 species of fish, the Great Mayan reef is a tapestry of life. Your yacht crew will know the best dive and snorkel sites where you can encounter sea turtles, manta rays, and even whale sharks (who come here over the summer to mate).
In addition to the reef, there are countless cave and cenote diving opportunities in the Mayan Riviera. Flooded cave systems run for hundreds of miles beneath the Yucatan Peninsula. In places where the surface land has collapsed, you can access cenotes – sinkholes filled with fresh, clear water. When sunlight pierces these immense underwater caverns, it illuminates the stalactites and stalagmites in an otherworldly, almost mystical aura.
Visit the Mayan Ruins
From the deck of your yacht, you’ll be able to see the Mayan temple, El Castillo, perched atop a seaside cliff. The structure was once painted bright colours and served as a watchtower and lighthouse for the ancient city at Tulum.
Tulum is just one of many Mayan archeological sites in the Riviera Maya, each safeguarding the mystic secrets of this once-great civilization. To walk amongst the ruins is to take a trip back in time and see Mexico as it existed before the Spanish arrived on these sacred shores.
Some of the most popular Mayan ruins are Coba, Ek Balam, Chunyaxche, and the world-famous Chichen-itza. However, there are smaller sites dotted all along the coast. Explore on your own or have your yacht crew arrange for a private tour.
Walk through the gates of heaven
Near Tulum, you’ll find the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, an incredible nature reserve and Unesco World Heritage site. The name Sian Ka’an means “place where the sky begins” or “gates of heaven” in Mayan, and it’s not hard to see why.
Protected within the Biosphere are tropical forests, palm savannahs, marshland, mangroves, and a large marine area with corals and seagrass beds. There is unparalleled biodiversity here with over 300 species of birds, 400 species of fish, 100 mammals and 40 amphibians. You can spend the day on the water searching for dolphins, turtles, rays and the elusive manatees; or on land spotting birds, monkeys, iguanas, and puma.
With its isolation and natural serenity, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is the perfect place to unplug and reconnect with what matters most.
Take in the local vibes
When you’re ready to head back to civilization, there are several cities and towns along the coast to visit, each with its own personality. Of course, there’s Cancun with its large resort district and spring-break atmosphere. There’s also Playa del Carmen with its walkable La Quinta – or Fifth Avenue – filled with boutiques, tourist shops, and bars.
But if you want to avoid the crowds, spend some time in Puerto Morelos. This former fishing village between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, is sleepier than its neighbours but still big enough to enjoy shopping, dining, and an afternoon ashore.
Fridays and Saturdays you’ll find a local market in the central square, and twice per month, there’s a crafts fair at My Paradise beach club.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of artistic entertainment, just south of Puerto Morelos you’ll find Joya, the only permanent Cirque du Soleil show outside of the USA.
Something for everyone
A yacht charter in the Riviera Maya is the perfect escape for couples, families, and retirees. With unmatched natural beauty, long stretches of sandy beaches, and city life as diverse as its wildlife, the only way to truly experience everything the Riviera has to offer is sailing from one amazing experience to the next on your own, private yacht.
Check out the beautiful yacht Belle available in Mexico!